Snowmobiler, hiker trade blows
Long-simmering bad feelings between wintertime hikers and snowmobilers erupted into violence last weekend, when two longtime locals got into a fight.
According to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, a hiker and a snowmobiler traded blows around noon last Sunday, Jan. 28, along the upper reaches of Smuggler Mountain Road – a place where foot-powered enthusiasts and motorized travelers have historically not gotten along.
According to deputy John Sobieralski, snowmobiler Paul Disnard, 52, was driving his machine up Smuggler Mountain Road shortly before noon when he came up behind hiker Donald Karrer, 53.
Disnard said Karrer swung at him with a ski pole for no reason, injuring Disnard’s arm and breaking the windscreen of his snowmobile.
According to the police report, Karrer “said he was both angry and afraid” of the snowmobile, which he said was heading for him rapidly and showed no sign of slowing down. Karrer added that he “was just defending himself” when he swung his ski pole.
According to both men, Disnard immediately stopped his snowmobile and got off, approaching Karrer. The two got into a fight that ended with Disnard breaking Karrer’s ski poles, climbing back on his snowmobile and heading up the mountain to the property of George “Wilk” Wilkinson, where Disnard lives.
Karrer maintained to police that Disnard charged at him yelling, “You’re going down,” and that he punched Karrer in the face, knocked him down and continued to punch him until a passerby tried to pull Disnard off. According to Karrer’s version, Disnard turned on the passerby when he tried to break up the fight.
Disnard claimed that he got off because he wanted to “talk to” Karrer, and that he did not attack until Karrer tried to stab him with a ski pole, causing Disnard to tackle him in “self defense,” according to police.
Disnard also said he broke Karrer’s poles so they could not be used against him again.
Two orthopedic surgeons who also were hiking up Smuggler Mountain stopped to help Karrer, who apparently suffered a dislocated shoulder in the altercation.
Sobieralski concluded that both men were involved in starting the fight and issued them both summonses to appear in county court on Feb. 13 to explain themselves to the judge.
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